BOSTON -- Despite the rampant increase in "e-crimes" and high-tech scams, cyber experts here said that firms need not build the Fortress of Solitude to protect their computer systems and networks from hackers and viruses.

However, they should steer clear of being the lowest-hanging fruit on the tree, meaning firms should avoid making themselves ripe for the picking. Speakers at the National Investment Company Service Association's Technology Forum 2004 session "Vulnerability Management: Dealing With Worms and Hackers" said criminals often use the path of least resistance, choosing to attack firms that are the most vulnerable because of lax or misguided security initiatives.

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